Benefit cheat hit with 15-month community order

A BENEFIT cheat who falsely claimed over £7,000 has been handed a 15-month community order.

At a hearing at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, Nicholas Miller, 27, of Oakrits, Meldreth, pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to report a change in circumstance and two counts of making false statements to obtain benefit.

The Court heard that Mr Miller failed to tell South Cambridgeshire District Council about several changes to his income and that a relative had moved in with him. He was overpaid £6226.75 in housing benefit and £1,463.69 in council tax benefit.

As well as ordering him to repay the cash, magistrates imposed a 15-month community order, during which he must complete 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £519 and a £60 victim surcharge.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, said: “We are committed to tackling benefit fraud and will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found to have dishonestly taken money away from people in real need of help.

“This case highlights just how important it is for people receiving benefit to report a change in circumstance to the Council. If they don’t, they may miss out on benefit they are entitled to or end up being overpaid, which could result in a criminal prosecution, as has happened here.”